STC Seminars

STC offers a collection of archived seminars free to members as part of the annual membership package! This member benefit debuted in 2011 with 38 free archived seminars, with more added each year. There are over 140 archived seminars available including the ever-popular Lightning Talks.

Academic, Education, and Training (9)

This category includes applying technical communication-based research to theory and practice, instructional design, e-Learning, certificates and certifications, and continuing education and training.

Correlation Between Educators’ Communication and Learning Styles
How do educators apply their communication and learning styles when engaged in the three stages of a lesson: development, delivery, debriefing? Learn how information regarding the correlations between these two styles can be used to guide educators in developing successful and creative lesson plans and lessons. Presenter: Lucille Mazo

How Is Technical Training Different?
New research on technology training across diverse industries across a diversity of industries reveals 24 differentiators that distinguish technical training from other types of training. These key differentiators will be discussed along with the implications for development of technical training. Presenter: Bettina Davis

Learn What the Academics Already Know
What can practitioners learn from educators? We’ve been using Web 2.0 technologies for years because our students have demanded engaging, socially driven, collaborative learning experiences. Come learn how to turn our collaborative knowledge building success stories into your own! Presenter: Phylise Banner

Make It Snappy — Web-Based Reference Guides
So many companies create training and then wonder why it doesn’t stick. One reason is that the Web has changed how we acquire information. We expect it faster and training is no exception. “Make It Snappy” demonstrates simple principles professionals can follow to create fast, on-demand Web-based Quick Reference Guides. Presenter: Donte Ormsby

Read the research. Don’t just make it up!
You don’t need to be an academic to read a research article. Even if you don’t read every word, you can find support — and new directions — for your thinking. Presenter: Susan Becker

Taking Tech Comm into K-12 Schools
Some state education departments are adding new technical communication requirements. In Georgia, grades 6-9 Language Arts requirements contain technical writing competencies. STC should engage to increase awareness of our profession. Presenter: Marjorie Davis

The Future of Technical Communication: Remix 2009
In 2004, Barbara Giammona published research into the future of technical communication that was published in STC’s journal Technical Communication. Now, five years later, it’s time for an update. Barbara returned to her original participants, and a number of new contributors, to revisit the question of the future of our profession. Her updated findings, which will appear in Intercom this year, will be presented live for the first time in this much-anticipated session. Presenter: Barbara Giammona

Training Writers — Building a Local Workforce
Innovatia is partnering with local and provincial governments to create a training program for technical writers. This presentation outlines the development of that curriculum. Presenter: Patti Blake, Connie Twynham

Using Wikis to Develop and Deliver Technical Training
This session describes a case study in which we used wikis both as a way to speed up the development of instructor-led training and as a tool for use during the instructor-led classes. Presenter: Janice Critchlow, Judy Hall

Career and Professional Development (15)

This category covers technical communication as a profession, including managing your career, developing your skills, and promoting the profession. It also includes interpersonal communication strategies, job search advice, and mentoring opportunities.

Bringing Experience to the Table
As communicators, we have a wealth of skills relevant to the design arena. In this presentation, a technical writer tells the story behind her transition to experience design and shares her projects, tools, and resources. Presenter: Chris Hester

Change, Trust, Collaboration: Adapting to Single Source Technologies
During this session you will learn tips and tricks that will help you comfortably stretch your trust and collaboration skills to successfully adapt to single-source technologies. Presenter: Paula Toth

Evangelizing Yourself
In this session I will help timid and unassertive practitioners come out of their shells and become leaders in the community. The advice I have to impart is based on my own experience taking control of my career and developing an authentic and positive reputation. Presenter: Whitney Hess

Expanded Roles and Added Value for Technical Communicators
Listen and interact with panelists to discover ways to apply your tech comm skillset to jobs that might surprise you. Learn how to bring added value to what you already know. Presenter: Linda Oestreich

Growing A Technical Communication Business
Many technical communicators operate as freelancers or independent consultants. But what does it take to grow a technical communication business, with a staff, management structure, and resources to serve many concurrent customers and take on large-scale projects? Each member of this panel has taken a company to the next level. Come to hear how you can do the same. Presenter: Mark Clifford

Have a Tech Comm Question? Ask The Experts!
Join us for a rapid-fire Q&A session. We have 100 combined years of experience in Technical Communication and will answer your questions about writing, consulting, Help, usability, management, blogging, leadership, DITA, and much more. We will take questions live, plus answer a few gathered in advance via social media. Presenter: Nicky Bleiel

He Said, She Said: Mergers, Acquisitions, and You
Mergers bring such overwhelming changes that often you are left grieving. We’ll provide two perspectives of the grieving process and ways to take advantage of the changes going on. Presenter: Jean-Luc Mazet

How Communication Works
To communicate most effectively, you need to understand how communication works. This session will look at basic communication models, what works, what causes it to breakdown, why people are different from you. This is the foundation for understanding communication. Presenter: Ant Davey

Knowledge Transfer: A New Opportunity for Technical Communicators
This presentation focuses on the fast-growing field of knowledge transfer. Dr. James Conklin, an STC Fellow, describes the field of knowledge transfer and pinpoints emerging opportunities for technical communicators. Presenter: James Conklin

Our Future Role: Knowledge Integration
The past decade has seen us transition into Information Developers. With the proliferation of user-generated content, our future role increasingly be as the Knowledge Integrators. In addition to creating user assistance, we will also become the official resource for collecting, verifying and redistributing input from our users. Presenter: Tristan Bishop

Seven Habits of Highly Successful Technical Communicators
This panel of highly experienced professionals will explore the behaviors, traits, and skills needed to be successful in technical communication. Presenter: Bernard Aschwanden, Rob Frankland, Rob Hanna, Lisa Swallow

Strategic, Competitive Professional Development: An Overview
Are you developing professionally, every day, and in every way? If not, you risk more than you think. We often relegate professional development to the land of “nice to have.” In today’s challenging economy and business environment, you can’t afford to not continually add to your own professional value. Presenter: Andrea Ames

Techcomm 2020: Get Vision, Be Ready
Communication is morphing at a dizzying rate. In some fields,technological advancements disintegrate job functions without warning. This presentation will use statistics to present a vision of the technical communications profession in 2020, and explain steps we can take today to be a part of that vision. Presenter: Tristan Bishop

That’s a Good Question!
A major factor in professional success is asking questions — the right questions — especially for introverted tech writers. This interactive session will enhance your questioning behaviors with SMEs and team members. Presenter: Elizabeth Frick

The Art of Questioning
Questions are the foundation of excellent research and interviews. Learn the power of questions, what they can engender, and how to write them; as well as 10 types of questions and how to sequence them to obtain the information you need. Presenter: Rich Maggiani

Content Management and Strategy (19)

This category covers the strategic view of content. Production and delivery of content has been achieved.  How is content then managed and a strategy carried out?

Adapting Ourselves to Adaptive Content
Why do we waste time and money creating and recreating content instead of planning for content reuse? Why are we still letting content authors plan where their content will “live” on a Web page? What worked for the desktop Web simply won’t work for mobile. As our design and development processes evolve, our content workflow has to keep up. Karen will talk about how we have to adapt to creating more flexible content. Presenter: Karen McGrane

Beyond the Bleeding Edge 1
As technical communication becomes increasingly technical, and as the pace of change accelerates, it’s important for technical communicators to stay informed about new technologies, tools, and trends. That’s the job of Beyond the Bleeding Edge, a session that provides an early warning system for STC members. Presenter: Neil Perlin, Rahel Bailie, Brian Everett, and Katie Carver

Beyond the Bleeding Edge 2
As technical communication becomes increasingly technical, and as the pace of change accelerates, it’s important for technical communicators to stay informed about new technologies, tools, and trends. That’s the job of Beyond the Bleeding Edge, a session that provides an early warning system for STC members. Presenter: Janet Swisher, Rob Frankland, Neil Perlin, and Kyle Dozuki

Content Management as a Practice
Content management isn’t just a system you buy or implement. It is always, however, something you do. Managing content is the goal, regardless of technology or technique. This presentation examines content management as a practice, focusing on: Content, Users, Business requirements, Processes. Presenter: Pamela Kostur

Content Strategies: The Content Lifecycle
We are being challenged to serve up, share, and integrate content in new and increasingly innovative ways. This trend is pushing us to collaborate beyond any arbitrary boundaries previously set by technologies, departments, organizations – or ourselves. The challenge to deliver content in better, smarter ways is becoming the next frontier. Presenter: Rahel Bailie

Content Strategy for Reaching Customers Anywhere
Today’s customers want content anywhere, anytime, and on any device. Designing for multiple devices means designing responsive content, content that adapts to the device and the customer’s needs. This session provides an understanding of the multi-device world and provides guidelines on developing a responsive content strategy. Presenter: Charles Cooper and Ann Rockley

Content Tactics: Putting Your Strategy into Action
Your strategy is your plan. Your tactics are how you implement that plan. This session shows you how to implement your content strategy, taking it beyond planning and into action with effective tactics. Learn how to use content tactics to ensure that your content strategy delivers as promised. Presenter: Pamela Kostur

Documentation Delivery System Alternatives
The important role information products play in user experience is often overlooked. Today, users want information more immediately than ever before. Print manuals no longer suffice; clients increasingly expect Web 2.0 delivery systems. In response to this new media landscape, this session evaluates eleven new distribution systems for performance support. Presenter: Tharon Howard, Alicia Hatter

Exploring the Information Ecosystem
Take a journey into the Information Ecosystem where you will discover how structured information lives within your organization. Content is all around you: in places you may least expect. It exhibits predictable properties and behaviors that will help you capture and classify information for better management of your content. Presenter: Rob Hanna

Introduction to XSL Transforms
Introduction to XSLT style-sheet language and how it interacts with, processes, and displays XML documents in a browser. Presenter: Dave Gash

Make Your Content Matter
Learn how doing content differently will bring you different results. See how a health, a travel, and a finance organization tried a new approach to their content and will never go back to the old one. A health company changed its content from a sales problem into a sales asset. A hotel company transformed editorial content into a mobile touchpoint. A financial company stopped presenting products as a features list and started explaining their value. Learn more about the results of these new approaches and what had to change behind the scenes along the way. Get inspiration and advice to make your content matter! Presenter: Colleen Jones

Moving Unstructured Content To Structured Content
Considering structure? Consider this: failure to correctly move legacy content can doom projects. Attend this session and learn best practices related to conversion you need to know from the outset. Presenter: Bernard Aschwanden

Refining the Content Lifecycle
The content lifecycle is at the core of the content strategy. Managing the content lifecycle is the implementation of a strategy, and a successful implementation means managing all of the components of the lifecycle. See how a content lifecycle applies in a variety of circumstances. Presenter: Rahel Anne Bailie

Structured Authoring: A First Step To Content Management
Structured authoring is an ideal first step to implementing content management. Structuring content prepares it for reuse and its eventual migration to a content management system, and prepares authors for writing in a structured authoring environment. Presenter: Mary Craig

Testing Content Strategy: What Works, What Doesn’t
Content strategy is an emerging field of practice that helps get your content under control. Where does testing with users fit in? This presentation answers that question and more by presenting a practical process and illustrating it with mini case studies from Centers for Disease Control and Philips. Presenter: Colleen Jones, Kevin O’Connor

The New Face of Documentation
The new documentation spans social networking applications, user-generated content, and alternative content types. Organizations are looking at custom strategies for managing content that supports users in particular situations. Presenter: Rahel Bailie

The Path to Implementing Content Strategy
Where do we start in discovering the elements of a content strategy in your business and what methods can we use to help plan and implement the resulting strategic vision. By drawing on references to many clients Mekon have worked with over several years, Julian will share his ideas and experiences to help you plan and implement a content strategy. Presenter: Julian Murfitt

There’s No Semantic Web Without Content and Data
This presentation will explain, in non-technical terms, the underlying concepts of the Semantic Web. We’ll explore how these concepts are being used on the web today, and where they’re going in the near future. Finally, we’ll discuss what all this means for people practicing content strategy. Presenter: Rachel Lovinger

Understanding and Evaluating Component Content Management Systems
This session introduces attendees to a range of leading CCM systems and describes their functionality. It then outlines a set of typical requirements that attendees can use as a starting point for their own requirements analysis. Finally, it recommends a typical approach attendees can use to engage with vendors and conduct their own research and evaluation. Presenter: Mary Laplante

International and Global Technical Communication (7)

This category addresses worldwide communications across cultures and borders, including international standards; international documentation; translation, globalization, and localization; and collaboration with international teams and businesses.

Collaborating Around the World
You’re managing (or in) a team with writers working in three different countries and five time zones. How can you make this work? This session will cover crucial elements of working in collaborative teams that can’t be ignored, including time zones, cultures, and virtual office dynamics. Presenter: Kirsty Taylor

Documentation & EU Regulations: Stay (or Get) Legal
Product documentation that fails to meet EU (and, in some cases, national) regulations creates serious liability. Ignorance is no excuse, and courts are clamping down. Includes a review and examples. Presenter: Chris Durban

Global-Ready Content Now!
We all know that translation costs can quickly get out of control. Thankfully, Val Swisher from Content Rules is here to present eight simple rules you can apply to tame your content and make it cheaper, better, and faster to translate. This fast-moving session is based on Val’s experience working with global 50 technology companies. Presenter: Val Swisher

Quality, Price, Schedule: Choosing the Right Localization Service
Quality, price, and schedule are three key areas companies consider when choosing Localization Service Providers. In this presentation, Jean-Luc will share his perspective on the challenges of evaluating LSPs, and how you can ensure that you have to right tools and knowledge to choose what’s best for you. Presenter: Jean-Luc Mazet

Strategies for Efficiently Creating Screen Captures
A challenge many software localization projects encounter is the creation of screen captures for documentation. This presentation will educate individuals on best practices for creating screen captures for international documents. Presenter: Adam Jones

The DUH Factor: Diverse, Understandable, Human (Web Content for Everyone)
The Internet provides a global audience that challenges anyone creating web content. Your audience is anyone and everyone. Web content isn’t just about great copy: It’s about making content accessible to diverse users, such as people with sensory or cognitive impairments and people for whom English is a second language. Come and learn how to create great content for all. Presenter: Char James-Tanny

Introduction to Global English
This session gives you a thorough introduction to guidelines that should be followed by all technical writers and editors, but especially those whose content will be translated/read by non-native speakers of English. Abundant examples will illustrate how the Global English guidelines can eliminate ambiguities and improve readability. Presenter: John Kohl

Management (13)

This category includes managing people, projects, and business; consulting and contracting; as well as quality and process improvement and risk management.

Building an Empire from the Grassroots Up
The information-development process is ubiquitous, democratic, and mission-critical to any business. But it’s harder than it looks and opportunities to do better are everywhere. How can information development groups help other teams within an organization realize the business value of content strategy and content management? Presenter: Lisa Dyer, Janet Swisher

Calculating ROI for DITA
If you are considering DITA, but are trying to figure out whether you can justify the cost and effort, this session is for you. You’ll learn how to communicate the rationale for DITA in terms that management understands. Presenter: Sarah O’Keefe

Change Management 101
Highlights from a certified change management professional program and how some of the lessons learned are being applied in an SME-rich (mostly engineering) environment to enhance technical communication. Presenter: Ant Davey

Content Management Technology Diffusion and Adoption Challenges
This presentation elucidates some of the challenges work groups face attempting to adopt content management technologies. Based on the results of an extensive case study and research in the field of technology transfer, the presenter describes how work groups and technology developers can better plan for technology diffusion projects. Presenter: Rebekka Andersen

Documentation in a Collaborative World: What We’ve Learned
The rapid rise of collaboration has changed the way we develop documentation. At the 2010 Summit I invited my audience to join a conversation about how to meet the challenges associated with these changes. Based on that conversation, I describe new best practices for editing, reviewing, legacy documentation, and localization. Presenter: Larry Kunz

Fundamentals of Strategic Planning
This session demystifies strategic planning and demonstrates how technical communication and project management skills can be leveraged in this fascinating and lucrative field. Learn how leading organizations worldwide (Cognos, Hilton, Tata motors, Unibanco, UPS, U.S. Army, Wells Fargo, dozens more) use the “balanced scorecard” to successfully execute their strategies. Presenter: Alexandra Piacenza

Generating Consistent Documentation Estimates
This session will demonstrate a standard estimating process by which technical writers can provide consistent estimates for any project according to documentation tasks, complexity levels, artifact details, and scope changes. Presenter: Sebastien Quintas

Growing a Technical Communication Business
Many technical communicators operate as freelancers or independent consultants. But what does it take to grow a technical communication business, with a staff, management structure, and resources to serve many concurrent customers and take on large-scale projects? Each member of this panel has taken a company to the next level. Come to hear how you can do the same. Presenter: Mark Clifford

Launching Your Tech Communication Business: Both Sides Now
As employers have to do more with less money and fewer people, the opportunities increase for technical communicators who yearn to escape the corporate environment and launch their own businesses. Find out what it takes to launch a successful tech communication business or a one-person venture. Presenter: Ruth Thaler-Carter and Judith Shenouda

Learning Lessons from a Completed Communications Project
Now that your technical communication project has launched, you need to conduct a project review. Learn how to conduct a positive, non-threatening lessons-learned or post mortem meeting with your team. Understand the elements of an effective lessons-learned report that can be used to improve future technical communication projects. Presenter: Teresa Stover

Measuring Productivity
Every manager struggles to balance writer workload and project capacity. A simple system can objectively evaluate assigned tasks, task time and complexity, special projects, and even writer experience levels to more accurately assess individual workload and capacity. The result is a simple, but useful, representational graph. Presenter: Pam Swanwick

Starting and Building a Freelance Business
Be prepared with what it takes to freelance part- or full-time. Building a freelance business, like nurturing a garden, is hard work. Learn marketing and customer relationship strategies. Presenter: Katherine Nagel, Ruth Thaler-Carter

The Green Communicator: Eco-Friendly Practices for the Small Business Office
Even if you lack the capital, time, and personnel resources required for large-scale efficiency overhauls, you can make sound business choices that will reduce pollution and waste at your small business office. Presenter: Roger Munger

Production and Delivery of Content (26)

This category covers the design and development of content, and information design as well as information architecture, publishing, and graphic/visual design and communicating with data.

11 Real World Insights for Template-Based Writing
Templates—pre-designed screen layouts—are central to many content management implementations. But how templates really work in practice? This interactive session provides 11 insights into the adoption of templates that emerged from a four-year study of 11-cases of template-based documents in 10 organizations. Presenter: Saul Carliner

A Pleasure Doing Business
What makes something emotionally engaging? Is there a place for delight in business applications? Find out as we redesign a familiar business tool using ideas from behavioral economics, neuroscience, and game mechanics. During this session, Stephen P. Anderson, guides you through specific examples of sites who’ve designed serendipity, arousal, rewards, and other seductive elements into their applications, especially during the post-signup period, when it’s so easy to lose people. He’ll demonstrate how to engage your users through a process of playful discovery, which is vital whether you make consumer applications or design for the corporate environment. Presenter: Stephen Anderson

Analytics for Web-Based User Docs
Last year Patricia talked about analytics for developer docs. This year, she’ll talk about analytics for user docs. Four new features make analytics the must-have tool for documenters: in-page analytics, content grouping (beta), flow visualization, and SEO Optimization. Advanced segments, a great way to get your own insights into your users, will also be covered. Presenter: Patricia Boswell

Architecting User Assistance for Reuse
This presentation examines four common scenarios for reuse and how user assistance architects and information developers can keep their reuse options open in each scenario: (a) Same document in different media, (b) Same topic in different documents, (c) Same content within many topics, and (d) Slightly different content within one topic. Presenter: Michael Hughes

Body Work: Rebuilding Documentation Car Wrecks
When handed a documentation wreck, can you make it run? Rebuilding poorly written content is both art and skill. Learn to salvage useful content out of mangled heaps of text. Presenter: Karen Murri

Building Visual Explanations: Practical Advice for Writers
Visual explanations are powerful tools because they invite audiences into topics and help them understand and remember complex ideas. What steps can a writer follow to develop engaging and effective visual explanations? Presenter: Don Moyer

Creating EPUBs: What’s the Best Tool for Me?
So you’ve decided that making your documentation available as ePub files is the way to go. But with so many tools available, how do you decide which is best? Presenter: Scott Prentice

Developing a Structured Content Strategy
More and more organizations are moving towards structured content, particularly with the increasing popularity of DITA. However, without an effective content strategy you will not realize the benefits of structured content. This session provides insights into how to model your content, define writing guidelines unique to your content, develop a reuse and metadata strategy, and identify content governance rules. Presenter: Ann Rockley

DITA + Wiki = The Open-Source DITA2Wiki Project
In this demonstration, DITA and user-generated content live side-by-side in a real-world framework as promoted by the open-source DITA2Wiki initiative. Presenter: Lisa Dyer

Documentation in a Collaborative World: What We’ve Learned
The rapid rise of collaboration has changed the way we develop documentation. At the 2010 Summit I invited my audience to join a conversation about how to meet the challenges associated with these changes. Based on that conversation, I describe new best practices for editing, reviewing, legacy documentation, and localization. Presenter: Larry Kunz

EPUB: Why, What, and How?
You hear about eBooks every day, and perhaps you’re one of those early adopters who uses a new eBook reader. Have you considered the possibility of publishing your content as an eBook? This presentation explains the Why, What, and How of the popular ePub format. Presenter: Scott Prentice

Five+ Ways to Add Interactivity to Online Help
Content is king, but adding a measured dose of interactivity to your online Help will increase readability and usability, as well as make it more compelling. This session will demonstrate a number of simple ways to improve your Help, even if you are single sourcing. Presenter: Nicky Bleiel

How to Run a Successful DITA Pilot Project
How do you mitigate the risk of a major technology change such as DITA? This presentation shares lessons learned in the first DITA pilot project at IBM Internet Security Systems. Presenter: Mark Wallis

It’s All Fun And Games Until Somebody Gets Sued
IP doesn’t need to be a dirty word. In this presentation, you will learn about what content developers need to know about protecting and respecting intellectual property rights. You will see some examples of what not to do, and more importantly, learn tips to protect you and your work. Presenter: Paul Pehrson

Migrating Content: How to Tackle the XML-L10N Beast
Learn how to guide your team into XML and CMS and how to transition from a legacy system into a state-of-the-art content development and publishing system. You can let the languages get in the way or tame the XML-L10N beast by using tried and true methods and best practices to make this migration smoother. Presenter: Jean-Luc Mazet

Mobile Content: Single Sourcing to the Max
Thinking about trying mobile for your online help or doc but hesitant because of the need for new tools? App programming? Try using your help authoring tool. We’ll review mobile outputs from RoboHelp and Flare, then look at the features that help create the most flexible and controlled content possible. Presenter: Neil Perlin

No Drama: Selecting the Right CMS for You
Make selecting a CMS a decision without emotion and without vendor hype. Develop a set of requirements, narrow the field of candidates, organize a proof of concept and evaluate all the results to select a CMS that best fits your team. Presenter: Leigh White and Mollye Barrett

Open Source Automated Documentation in a Development Environment
This presentation describes automated documentation using free, open source tools including HTML, XML, Python, CGI, Javascript, JQuery, SQL, Apache HTTP Server and Subversion. Projects covered in the session will include intranet document management system integrating SharePoint and Subversion as well as documenting a hierarchical system with navigable diagrams and lists. Presenter: Neale Morison

Plain Language for the Technical Writer
Many government agencies, companies, and institutions face mandates to present content such as regulations, specifications, and instructions in plain language. This presentation explains what that means, and what’s in it for technical writers. Presenter: Bruce Poropat

Process Re-Engineering for Topic-Based Authoring
Unleash the full potential of DITA through process re-engineering. The biggest challenges for your authors aren’t with learning a structured language or mastering new tools — but with topic-based collaboration. Presenter: Rob Hanna

Radically Open Documentation
What’s it like to not just allow community contributions to your documentation, but depend on them? What if literally anybody could edit the docs and see your work as you write? Mozilla doc team members share their experiences working with radically open documentation for end-users and developers. Presenter: Eric Shepherd

Scenario-Driven Information Architecture
Traditionally, scenarios are used as tools to help users understand a product or task. In our approach, scenarios are internal tools to inform information architecture and are rarely customer facing. Presenter: Alyson Riley

Strategies for Successful eLearning Project Management
Successful project management is never easy. An eLearning project provides additional challenges due to the disciplines, personalities and technologies involved, maintaining client satisfaction, not succumbing to scope creep and the fact that it involves both a training and a software project. This session provides practical, real-world examples, techniques, and resources that participants can instantly apply on the job upon their return. Presenter: Mark Steiner

Structure 2.0
In recent years, Symantec Information Developers have worked to transition customer documentation from a traditional book paradigm into topic-based, on-demand user assistance. To support this effort an XML based publishing environment that combines open source technologies with select commercial applications was deployed. This allows for sharing XML content chunks across products, release versions and writing teams, affording considerable cost-savings during localization. In addition, topics can be delivered in the access method of our customer’s choice. This flexibility has enabled Information Development to partner with other Symantec content-generating departments to drive toward seamless enterprise Knowledge Management. This seminar will explain our current publishing state, and the trends and technologies that are driving our on-going optimization initiatives. Presenter: Tristan Bishop

What Tech Docs Can Learn from the Comics
The recent Google Chrome comic caused a lot of buzz. But it’s far from being the first “technical” comic. Find out how comics can help you produce better tech docs. Presenter: Alan Porter

Why Not DocBook?
With all the hype about DITA, DocBook sometimes gets forgotten. However, it is still alive, well, and a great choice for many applications, including some that DITA is known for. This talk will make the case for DocBook. Presenter: Richard Hamilton

Tools, New Media, and Technology (18)

This category covers the “technology” of technical communication, including emerging and Web technologies, new media, multimedia, and the expanding use of technology and software in technical communication.

Beyond the Bleeding Edge
Includes the following topics: iPhone, iPad, Android: A Quick Intro to Developing User Assistance for Mobile Apps, presented by Joe Welinske; Repurposing Software you Already Have: An Example Using Mimic, presented by Gretchen Hambright; and Search Engine Optimization: My Life With Spiders, presented by Robert Rhyne Armstrong. Presenter: Neil Perlin

Brave New World: Tapping Enterprise Communities
Online communities are the new online help. To future-proof your career, it’s time to build to build your online community skills. We share our experience working with two enterprise communities, and provide strategies, tips, and best practices for success with managing online communities, curating content, and encouraging community participation. Presenter: Samartha Vashishtha and Marta Rauch

Calculating ROI for DITA
If you are considering DITA, but are trying to figure out whether you can justify the cost and effort, this session is for you. You’ll learn how to communicate the rationale for DITA in terms that management understands. Presenter: Sarah O’Keefe

Climbing the Levels of Collaboration
Groups can take action quickly thanks to tools that amplify group communications such as blogs and wikis. Let’s walk through three hands-on examples that illustrate levels of collaboration: Information Sharing, Cooperation, and Collaborating with a Book Sprint. If you want advanced wiki and community growth techniques, this is the session. Presenter: Anne Gentle

Creating Visual Help and Training Using Adobe Captivate
Adobe Captivate lets us easily create screen movies for use for training, marketing, online help, and more, and is quick to learn and inexpensive. This session describes Adobe Captivate’s uses, features, and outputs. It then illustrates some of those features by creating a simple but real movie in real time. Presenter: Neil Perlin

CSS3, Media Queries, and Responsive Design
It’s no longer possible to build separate sites for all the different devices that your audience uses. Media queries along with liquid/fluid layout techniques allow you to easily make a single site that automatically adapts its design to each user’s device so that it looks good and works well in whatever screen space is available. Presenter: Zoe Mickley Gillenwater

DITA Specialization: Why Would I Do That?
The words DITA and Specialization are often linked, but is specialization really required in order to use DITA? What is it, and when is it really a good idea? We will go over the basics and then discuss the process IBM uses when deciding when to specialize. Presenter: Robert Anderson

Flower Power: Daisy Wiki-Based Content and Translation Management
Case studies demonstrate how two groups use Daisy, an open-source content management and publishing platform, to publish structured help for two Web products with very different business requirements. Both systems were rolled out with short lead times and have reduced costs by supporting re-use, re-purposing, and translation management. Presenter: Steven Lungren, Richard Lowe, Peter Dykstra

Getting Started with HTML5
In this session, Peter will explain why HTML5 is going to have a tremendous impact on technical communication. He will introduce you to the most relevant HTML5 features and show you practical tools, tips, and tricks so you can start using HTML5 in your technical communication projects right away. Presenter: Peter Lubbers

Google Analytics: Measuring Content Use and Engagement
You can use Analytics to measure user engagement with your online docs. I’ll demonstrate how our user education team uses Google Analytics on our developer documentation to get insight into how well our documents are serving our users. Presenter: Patricia Boswell

HTML5: The Next Internet Gold Rush
Attend this session for a behind-the-scenes look at HTML5 and how it differs from previous versions of HTML. Learn the vision and design principles behind HTML5 and how this will affect the TC field. You will see practical demonstrations of the different features of HTML5, including the new semantic markup. HTML5 is available in most modern browsers, but you will also learn how to make it work in older ones. Presenter: Peter Lubbers

Managing Book Development Using a Wiki
This presentation describes how to combine the ease-of-use of wikis with the ease-of-production of XML technology using readily available wiki and XML technology. The presentation is based on experience developing Alan Porter’s latest book using PBWiki and DocBook. Presenter: Richard Hamilton

Single Sourcing Sans a CMS
In this session, content developers from Citrix Education will demonstrate the tools and techniques they use to create multi-modal, multi-language training without a CMS. Presenter: Patrick Quinlan, Ben Colborn

Socio-Technical Design: The Future of Online Community
Every few years new computer interaction paradigms are introduced. Mediated communication networks have become mainstream. Moving from the human-computer interaction to the human-network interaction, socio-technical design looks at the exchange of information within mediated communication networks, and sets the groundwork for group interaction within these environments. Presenter: Phylise Banner

Strategies for the Social Web for Documentation
The social Web can be perceived as intimidating, live-saving, risky, or a black hole of productivity loss. Learn how to take a strategic approach to integrating social media to accomplish your overall documentation goals. Presenter: Anne Gentle

Surfing the Perfect Storm
Communication methods are transforming at an alarming rate. With rapid advances in global, mobile, and social dialog, how can technical writers keep up? This session will explain the fundamental shifts taking place and provide practical instruction on how information developers can prepare, respond, and succeed. Presenter: Tristan Bishop

WinHelp, WebHelp, AIR… Help!
Online formats can be confusing — consider “WebHelp” vs. “Web Help.” This session describes XML, XHTML, HTML Help, WebHelp, DotNet Help, AIR, and others — and how to select the appropriate one. Presenter: Neil Perlin

Building a Developer Documentation Wiki
A wiki for developer documentation: How we designed and built a new site to host the API documentation, tutorials, and toolkits for our development community. Presenter: Sarah Maddox

Usability and User Experience (27)

This category includes the usability and assessment of technical communication, accessibility and universal design, as well as all aspects of human-centered design, including designing and testing the user experience, promoting user-centered design processes, and developing usable and safe products.

10 Most Common Misconceptions About User Experience Design
“User Experience” has been getting a lot of play, but many businesses are confused about what it actually is and how crucial it is to their success. Find out the 10 biggest mistakes people make when defining what UX comprises. Presenter: Whitney Hess

10 Tips for a Better Survey
Surveys: so easy to do, so hard to do well. If you want to get the most out of your next survey, come to this presentation for tips on questions, the process of the survey, incentives and most of all: testing. Presenter: Caroline Jarrett

Advancing Web Accessibility
Get a jumpstart on new guidelines and best practices for making your website work better for everyone, especially people with disabilities and older users. Enter WCAG 2.0 and WAI-ARIA. Presenter: Shawn Henry

Chinese Website Usability Study
This session presents the results of a usability study of an international hotel’s Chinese website. We show the results of heuristic evaluation and a usability test with bilingual English/Chinese speakers. Presenter: Carol Barnum, Yina Li

Delivering Accessible Content with WCAG 2.0
Accessible Web content is no longer a simple matter of ensuring images include alternative text! The emergence of HTML5, rich Internet applications, content management systems and mobile platforms have created new accessibility challenges. Learn how the W3C’s WCAG 2.0 are designed to help content producers ensure an accessible user experience. Presenter: Mike Paciello

Designing for People Who Do Not Read Easily
How can we design for people with impairments, those reading in a second language, or those in stressful conditions? Join us in this workshop to share best practices. Presenter: Caroline Jarrett, Whitney Quesenbery

Destroy the Box: Frank Lloyd Wright’s UX Lessons
Through three Wright landmarks (Fallingwater, the Pope-Leighy house, and Taliesin West) we investigate inspiration that he brings to experience architects. We’ll look at pictures and principles, exploring analogs to our practice through the elements of context, clients, connections, and construction. Presenter: Joe Sokohl

Essential UX Skills for Technical Communicators
Many of the skills required to be a user experience designer can help you improve your technical documentation. This workshop teaches foundational information architecture skills—including heuristic evaluation, card sorting, and usability testing—to empower you to improve your technical communication and provide increased value to other parts of your organization. Presenter: Will Sansbury, Rachel Peters, Yina Li

From Cancer to Bankruptcy
Performing in-home ethnographic interviews is especially personal for User Experience Designers. But when the research is based on a person’s personal health or finances, it gets taken to a whole new level. Presenter: Brad Nunnally

From Design to Definition
How do we move from research to design to development without losing sight of the user experience. This session looks at specifying UX artifacts for team members to glean meaning from our work. How does experience design specify its output in a way that developers can code and business can understand how the UX relates to business requirements? Presenter: Joe Sokohl

From Sketching to Code: Jump-Starting the Interaction Design Process
Whether you’re an interaction designer, information architect, interface designer — or anyone else responsible for the user experience! — this session will share a broad range of tools and techniques for systematically coming up with the best ideas for your site or product’s design, and for bridging the gaps between the interests of the design, technology, business, and marketing disciplines. Presenter: Christopher Fahey

From Techcomm To UX: Are You a Designer?
Tell (and believe) the story of your transition! Learn to assess your transferable skills, position yourself in the local market, and hold your head high in pursuit of UX jobs. Presenter: Kristi Leach

Improving Product Design Through Usability Evaluation
Good products become great products through continuous user feedback. Usability evaluations yields maximum benefits if they are methodologically correct and implemented in a timely manner given the constraints of your product development schedule. In this session you will learn the basics of usability evaluation planning, test design, moderating/facilitating, and reporting. Presenter: Scott Butler

Information Architecture and Interaction Design in Museum Environments
This presentation explores how modern museums are responding to the challenges and opportunities of transforming the entire visitor experience and highlights individual examples of excellence and innovation. It will focus on: Creating ease of physical and content navigation; Structuring information both in individual environments and across an entire institution; Evoking desired audience interactions. Presenter: Julian Jackson

Innovations in Accessibility: Designing for Digital Outcasts
Introduced by researchers from the University of Sussex, the term “digital outcasts” describes users with disabilities who are left behind as technology advances. This presentation will explore emerging technologies (mobile apps, games, virtual worlds, etc.) as they apply to barrier-free digital products in the healthcare sector, cultivating greater social awareness. Presenter: Kel Smith

Label Placement and Other Time-Consuming Forms Controversies
Ever been caught in one of those arguments about whether labels should go above the fields on forms? Or how to indicate required fields? Or whether to put colons on the end of labels? This talk will give you insight and ammunition—and save you time in design meetings. Presenter: Caroline Jarrett

Mental Model Diagrams: Supportive Content for Specific Folks
Wish you had more time to deeply understand customer reasoning? Mental model diagrams provide a clear roadmap of where to invest your energies, and where you shouldn’t. Derive information architecture, head off arguments, and get everyone on the same page. Stretch your limited resources by building the diagram over time, depending on core behaviors that will last decades. Presenter: Indi Young

Revealing Design Treasures from the Amazon
On its surface, just seems like a large e-commerce site, albeit a successful one. Its design isn’t flashy, nor is it much to write home about. But deep within its pages are hidden secrets — secrets that every designer should know about. In this entertaining presentation, Jared will share some of UIE’s latest research into the hidden treasures of (the) Amazon. Presenter: Jared Spool

Selling Usability In(to) Organizations
Imagine the need to promote usability to an organization. Not all organizations have the same level of interest and receptiveness to usability. Some just don’t care. What do we need to do about an organization that will help us sell usability more effectively? What questions should we ask about the organization, its people, and its culture? What can we learn from organizations where usability has become part of the corporate DNA? What factors can increase our chances of promoting usability? Presenter: Daniel Szuc

Sketching User Experiences with the Design Studio Method
This session provides an in-depth review of new UX method known as a Design Studio. The Design Studio Method is a systematic approach for saturating the design space with sketched ideas. Participants will learn the method, how to apply it, and when to use it. Presenter: Brian Sullivan

The DUH Factor: Diverse, Understandable, Human (Web Content for Everyone)
The Internet provides a global audience that challenges anyone creating web content. Your audience is anyone and everyone. Web content isn’t just about great copy: It’s about making content accessible to diverse users, such as people with sensory or cognitive impairments and people for whom English is a second language. Come and learn how to create great content for all. Presenter: Char James-Tanny

Transitioning Web-Based Information to WCAG 2.0
Learn strategies for transitioning Web content from version 1 to version 2 of the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Presenter: Linda Roberts

Understanding Users Through Ethnography and Modeling
Great product design starts with a deep understanding of the work that users do in the real world. Build your understanding through observation, interviews, surveys, and artifact collection. Share your understanding with KJ analysis, personas, and scenarios. Validate and prioritize your understanding with follow-up surveys. Presenter: Jim Jarrett

Users Play Cards. We Keep Score. Magic Results!
Our use of Microsoft’s product reaction cards over numerous studies gives us a window into users’ experience that is eye-opening and amazingly consistent within each study. We show and tell how we use the cards and the results we obtain. Presenter: Carol Barnum

Using Stories for More Effective Usability
Stories can help you collect, analyze, and share qualitative information from user research and usability, spark design imagination and keep in touch with your audience. This presentation will look at how stories can be integrated into your own process to make it more effective. Presenter: Whitney Quesenbery

Writing and Testing for Universal Usability
Much of our work has to be usable across many different audiences. Come hear Ginny Redish discuss research on specific groups (low-literacy, high-literacy, elderly, and others). And learn from Randolph Bias about how to use remote usability testing procedures to reach your many audiences. Presenter: Janice (Ginny) Redish, Randolph Bias, Sheng-Cheng Huang

Getting Started in Eye Tracking: A Primer
This presentation introduces practitioners considering eye tracking to basic principles they need to know before making that leap. Specifically, we cover: 1) types of eye tracking technologies available, 2) fundamental principles of eye movement, 3) methods for displaying data, and 4) issues with calibration. Presenter: Tharon Howard, Daniel Liddle, Shawn Stowe, Kimberly Sulak, and Abigail Johnson

Writing and Editing (7)

This category covers all aspects of writing and editing, including writing and editing processes, technical editing and writing, writing for marketing communication, writing policies and procedures, and creating and maintaining style guides.

Building Visual Explanations: Practical Advice for Writers
Visual explanations are powerful tools because they invite audiences into topics and help them understand and remember complex ideas. What steps can a writer follow to develop engaging and effective visual explanations? Participants in this session will receive a workbook and complete several exercises to practice what they are learning. Presenter: Don Moyer

Editing: Reviewing Levels and Choosing Types
Review the “Classic Nine” types and five levels of edit from the past and compare them to newer editing types in the current literature. Show how to apply levels of edits to today’s work world, tools, and conditions. Presenter: Michelle Corbin and Linda Oestreich

Examining Error in the Technical Communication Editing Test
This presentation examines the popular topic of usage error by quantifying the types and frequencies of errors found in 41 editing tests used to screen prospective technical writers and editors. Results can improve the effectiveness of the editing test as well as improve error instruction at universities. Presenter: Ryan Boettger

Getting Your Documentation Project Off the Ground Running
In this session, you’ll learn how to quickly size-up a software application to develop your project architecture, then use a pre-defined topic structure to create content. These skills and guidelines will substantially reduce your “time to writing,” as well as writing time. Result: your project completed faster, with less rework. Presenter: Nicky Bleiel

How to Write Contracts/Letters of Agreement
An agreement should include far more than just the scope of the project. Attend this session to see what critical information might be missing in your agreements. Presenter: Jack Molisani

Panel Discussion: Why Technical Editors are Still Relevant
In the Internet age, customers won’t wait for content. Is there room for editors in a world of good enough documentation? How is the role of the editor evolving? Presenter: Pat Moell, Michelle Corbin, Carol Lamarche, Mary Jo David, and Jenifer Servais

Ten Tips for Tastier Tasks
Are your procedures really dull? Do users ignore them? Do you suspect that there is room for improvement? This session covers best practices for writing effective, intuitive procedures. Presenter: Leah Guren

Lightning Talks (2)

This category features a series of “Lightning Talks,” five-minute talks on topics of interest to technical communicators. Each speaker gets 20 slides, displayed for 15 seconds per slide. Timing is strictly enforced. Expect presentations that are insightful, thought-provoking, humorous, and possibly controversial. Expect to see oratory skills tested, and expect to have fun.

Lightning Talks, Session 1, 2012
This recording includes Beyond the Gutenberg Parenthesis; Enhance Your Writing by Critical Reading; MySTC: Present Case, Future Considerations; Virtual Teams, Real Meetings: How We Compensate; What? Another XML Schema?; and Where Did That Idea Come From? Presenter: Alan Houser, et al

Lightning Talks, Session 2, 2012
This recording includes Communication, Culture, Technology; Making Your Content Less Flabby; My Dog is Smarter Than Me; Shockproofing Your Use of Social Media 2012; and Wikis and Structure: Perfect Together. Presenter: Paul Mueller, et al

Sponsored Webinars (1)

Periodically STC offers free live Web seminars to its members, presented thanks to our great sponsors. This section includes recordings of those free sponsored webinars.

Orchestrate Your Technical Communication to Work in Harmony

Imagine you’re conducting an amateur orchestra, but the members can’t seem to play well together. The musicians play wrong notes on the wrong beats, making the music sound like random noise rather than beautiful songs. As the conductor, you must direct the musicians so that they play their parts precisely and musically. Each part must work with every other part to create a recognizable song and an entertaining concert. Do you feel like the conductor of your content, attempting to make all the scattered, random parts gel into one cohesive document set? Join STC, JustSystems, and Vasont Systems in this hour-long sponsored webinar as we show you what you’ll gain from making the move to XML and how it can make your content work in harmony for your organization. Presenter: Tom Magliery, XML Technology Specialist, JustSystems, and Suzanne Mescan, VP of Marketing, Vasont Systems

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